Is Plant Protein Bad For Kidneys

Protein Powder And Your Liver

Plant Based Protein Powder and Kidney Disease – Throw It Out or Use It? Alternatives?

Your liver is responsible for cleaning the toxins from your bloodstream. Complete proteins support healthy liver function and also repair damaged tissue. Your body neither produces the nine most important amino acids needed to make a complete protein, nor stores protein which is why a healthy, balanced diet is so important.

Certain conditions, such as cirrhosis, make it more difficult for your liver to function. A high protein diet can help your liver regenerate, according to the experts at, but if you have cirrhosis, a diet too high in protein can cause the levels of ammonia in your body to soar. If you have cirrhosis or any other serious liver disease, check with your health-care provider to figure out how much protein you should be taking in every day and whether you can accomplish that through careful meal planning or if you need to take protein supplements such as a powder.

How Much Protein Is Too Much

The body is in a constant state of flux, constantly breaking down and rebuilding its own tissues.

Under certain circumstances, our need for protein can increase. This includes periods of sickness or increased physical activity.

We need to consume enough protein for these processes to occur.

However, if we eat more than we need, the excess protein will be broken down and used for energy.

Even though a relatively high protein intake is healthy and safe, eating massive amounts of protein is unnatural and may cause harm. Traditional populations got most of their calories from fat or carbs, not protein.

Exactly how much protein is harmful is unclear and likely varies between people.

One study in healthy, strength-training men showed that eating around 1.4 grams per pound of body weight every day for a year didnt have any adverse health effects .

Even eating 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight for 2 months did not appear to cause any side effects (

Who Should Not Follow A Low Protein Diet

Those with kidney failure on dialysis should not follow a low protein diet. The dialysis process includes filtration of the blood, which removes some protein. That protein needs to be replenished.

Adialysis diet requires approximately 1.2-1.4 grams per kilogram per day. But dont worry, you can still follow a plant-based dieteven on dialysis.

For those with cancer, a low protein diet is not recommended. However, this may be altered if there is also chronic kidney disease.

In these cases, it is especially important to work with a registered dietitian so that you get enough- but not too much- protein.

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How To Track A Low Protein Diet

Tracking your food can be a great way to give you insight into your nutrition guidelines. A dietitian can help you decode your diet and make sure youre in the guidelines to keep your kidneys safe and healthy.

One of my favorite trackers isCronometer. You can use the free tool, but I think the real info is in the paid version. It will tell you so much more and you can set goals when working with your dietitian.

When tracking, youll want to be as specific as possible. It can get very tedious, but when you use a system like Cronometer you can set up some of your most common meals and re-use them for quick entries.

Be sure to compare your food journal with yourlab test results. The test results can show you more details about your progress.

What If Im Not On Dialysis But I Have Kidney Disease


For those with kidney disease that are not currently on dialysis, protein supplements are generally not recommended.

Those with kidney disease working to avoid or delay dialysis generally need to follow a low protein diet.Read more about the low protein diet here.

In some cases, a low protein diet may also be paired with a special type of protein supplement for people with CKD not on dialysis called ketoanalogues. Read more about ketoanalogues here.

Also Check: Is Watermelon Good For Your Kidneys

Read Also: What Is The Best Keto Protein Powder

Low Protein Diet Sample Menu

Here is an example of a day of a low protein diet for kidney disease.

Breakfast: Cream of wheat with ground flax seeds, chia seeds, berries, and maple syrup

Snack: Apple and popcorn

Lunch: Veggie wrap with avocado, lettuce, sprouts, red onion, cucumber, carrots, and hummus and a side of chips and corn salsa

Snack: Fruit and veggie smoothie

Dinner: Grilled, marinated Portobello mushroom with sauteed green beans, rice, and a side salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Snack: Frozen grapes

Eating Plenty Of Protein Is A Good Thing

There are many benefits associated with a high protein intake.

  • Muscle mass: Adequate amounts of protein have a positive effect on muscle mass and are crucial to prevent muscle loss on a calorie-restricted diet (
  • 24 ).

Overall, a higher protein intake is beneficial for your health, especially for maintaining muscle mass and losing weight.


There are many benefits to a high protein intake, such as weight loss, increased lean mass and a lower risk of obesity.

Read Also: What Plant Contains The Most Protein

Protein Powder And Kidneys

The main function of your kidneys is to act like a water filtration system. When you digest protein, it creates nitrogen byproducts that are flushed from your bloodstream through urination. This is where the myth that protein shakes damage kidneys comes in. The reasoning is that if you overload your kidneys with protein, they will not be able to handle the excess. This, according to the International Sports Sciences Association, is not true if you have healthy kidneys. They will simply work harder to process the extra protein.

But while taking in too much protein can put a strain on damaged or diseased kidneys, according to Fredric Coe, MD, at the University of Chicago, there is no clear link between a high protein diet and kidney stones. As long as your kidneys are healthy, protein can be a convenient and effective addition to your diet.

Protein And Body Weight Reduction

Protein And Kidney Disease: Does protein cause kidney damage and is plant protein safer

Oftentimes, clients looking for weight loss will consider a low-carb, high-protein diet. When successful, people sometimes think its the absence of carbs from the daily calories that achieved the results. However, meeting the right protein requirements is beneficial in two ways. The first is that protein consumption reduces clients appetite. This is because calories from protein take longer to breakdown than most carbs and fats. Consequently, clients will feel fuller longer when eating a diet consisting of high-quality proteins. This result of appetite reduction is commonly called spontaneous reduction in calorie intake. All it means to your client is theyll be feeling fuller longer and therefore less likely to eat and snack at unnecessary times.

We already mentioned the need for protein to support the maintenance and growth of lean mass. Clients who have more muscle tissue have a higher resting metabolic rate because muscle burns more calories than fat to survive. A higher resting metabolic rate means more calories burned each day. Basic weight loss principles tell us more calories burned means more weight lost. So, this is the second reason why daily protein intake is important for body fat reduction.

You likely already know some of this, but you need to be able to convince your clients and people who ask you for fitness and nutrition advice. Tell them why getting enough high-quality protein is so important:

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Also Check: What Is Protein In The Urine An Indication Of

A Fast & Easy Solution For Healthy Blood Pressure

There are a few important ways for having healthier blood and exercise being the two important factors.

Unfortunately, they take time and most people are either NOT patient or need faster results, with less effort…This is the exact problem I ran into with my own parents.

Because of this, I needed to find a simple, easy and fast solution for naturally supporting healthier blood pressure levels in only 30 days, without the use of harmful prescription drugs or following a restrictive diet.

If this is something you’re also interested in, you can easily copy my parent’s “proven formula”, implement it and start seeing and feeling results within days

Health Effects Of Protein Intake In Healthy Adults: A Systematic Literature Review

This systematic review analyzed the existing literature on protein intake and a range of different health conditions .

Regarding kidney health, the review found that there is inconclusive evidence that a higher protein intake can affect kidney function.

Among the notable points from this study was the findings of the European Food Safety Authority .

This food safety organization published their findings on protein intake and kidney health in 2012. Markedly, the EFSA deemed that there is insufficient evidence available to justify an upper level of protein intake for optimal kidney function.

On the negative side, this systematic review did find an association between kidney function decline and high protein intake in people with kidney disease.

Overall, the studys position is that there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that high protein diets cause harm.

However, the researchers do stress that they cant rule out high protein intake affecting kidney function in the long term since this research doesnt yet exist.

Key Point:

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How To Manage Kidney Disease With A Plant

Sharon Palmer

Published on May 24, 2019

Updated on

Did you know that renal disease can be managed with a plant-based diet? Not so long ago, people suffering from kidney disease shunned a lot of plant foods, because of the special nutritional considerations related to this diet regimen. But new research shows that eating a more plant-based diet can help improve nutritional profile, reduce inflammation, and prevent disease development later on. So, how can you take advantage of this new information to harness the power of plants while you manage renal disease?

Im answering all of those questions today on the blog, thanks to our in-depth interview with renal nutrition expert Deborah Clegg, PhD. She dives into the latest science on how you can eat to preserve kidney function while promoting optimal health, so that you can enjoy a more vibrant, healthful life. We are so lucky to have her answer some of our top questions.

Deborah Clegg, PhD

Pea Protein For Kidney Health

Kidney Stones Diet: Foods To Avoid When Stones Keep ...

Several types of researches have been carried out to prove that plant-based protein is highly beneficial to people suffering from Chronic Kidney Diseases. Its also known to reduce the risk of having kidney diseases. High blood pressure is a common risk factor for persons with chronic kidney diseases. However, recent research has shown that pea protein powder can improve blood pressure. This could be attributed to the fact that pea protein powder is rich in soluble fiber which has some heart benefits. Also, pea protein is rich in amino acid arginine which to an extent lowers blood pressure. Pea protein has also been proven to help people who already have kidney disease to maintain normal blood pressure which can help them live longer.

You may wonder why stable blood pressure is significant for people with kidney disease. This is because most of the time, kidney disease patients die fromcardiovascular complications which starts as a result of high blood pressure. This is a great development seeing that13% of American adults suffer from chronic kidney disease. Its not a cure but its a very important discovery seeing that it can keep such patients alive longer.

Pea protein is beneficial to the kidney for the reasons stated above. You dont have to be a vegetarian to enjoy pea protein powder seeing that it has so many benefits. It mixes well with any diet youre following so you should consider turning to pea protein for its nutritional and health benefits.

Also Check: Where To Buy Urine Test Strips For Protein

Potassium Is Not Bad In A Plant

One of the first recommendations a physician may give someone with kidney disease is stop eating potassium.

However, what studies are now showing is that even those with later-stages of kidney disease can benefit in not having such a significant restriction, especially if following a plant-based diet.

Potassium can help with blood pressure control, which is very helpful for your kidneys as high blood pressure is one of the top causes of kidney disease.

The highest sources of potassium in our diet come from fruit and vegetables. When following a plant-based diet, the goal is to have a base including fruits and vegetables.

A study in 2013 found that after one year of increased intakes of fruits and vegetables in those with stage 4 CKD found no impact on potassium levels, but did result in improved metabolic acidosis and better kidney health.

If your doctor has told you to limit potassium, it does not mean you cannot follow a plant-based diet. Work with a dietitian to learn your best potassium needs and goals to keep your kidneys healthy. Learn more about the low potassium diet here.

The Higher The Intake The Faster The Decline

The studies published in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation included an analysis of 4,837 Dutch patients aged 6080years with a history of heart attack. This showed a strictly linear association between daily protein intake and decline in kidney function. The higher the intake, the faster the decline, it concluded.

The result of an epidemiological study conducted in South Korea pointed to the same direction: persons with the highest protein intake had a 1.3 higher risk of faster GFR .

The analysis added it was unclear whether it makes any difference if the proteins are animal- or plant-based. The recommendation is to abstain in general from a high protein intake, it said.

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Protein Intake And Kidney Damage

The kidneys are remarkable organs that filter waste compounds, excess nutrients and liquids out of the bloodstream, producing urine.

Some say that your kidneys need to work hard to clear the metabolites of protein from your body, leading to increased strain on the kidneys.

Adding some more protein to your diet may increase their workload a little, but this increase is quite insignificant compared to the immense amount of work your kidneys already do.

About 20% of the blood your heart pumps through your body goes to the kidneys. In an adult, the kidneys may filter around 48 gallons of blood every single day.

High protein intake may cause harm in people with diagnosed kidney disease, but the same doesnt apply to people with healthy kidneys (

18 ).

In conclusion, there is no evidence that a high protein intake harms kidney function in people who dont have kidney disease.

On the contrary, it has plenty of health benefits and may even help you lose weight .


A high protein intake has been shown to accelerate kidney damage in people who have kidney disease. However, higher protein diets dont adversely affect kidney function in healthy people.

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Plant Protein Intake And Kidney Disease Benefits or Not For A Renal Diet?

With gyms being closed across the country, quarantines and lockdowns got us all working out at our homes to achieve that perfect summer body. Be it yogasanas, lifting weights or treadmill runs, we have somehow found our way through it all. For those who are working out, supplements or specifically protein supplements can act as catalysts for muscle building and increasing athletic abilities. Protein is an important element for rebuilding and repairing our muscles, both processes integral to bodybuilding.

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Testing High Protein And Kidney Function

So now that we know how to assess kidney function and potential damage, we can use these tests to figure out whether high-protein diets do, in fact, harm the kidneys.

To figure this out, we could test kidney function and high-protein diets in healthy people. Or we could go one step further and test high-protein diet on people whose kidney functions are already compromised: obese diabetics.

Our Kidneys Filter Proteins Waste Products

As our body metabolizes protein, the process generates various nitrogenous waste products such as urea, uric acid, creatinine, and hippuric acid .

These waste products need filtering out of the body for excretion, and this responsibility belongs to our kidneys.

This task requires a lot of hard work, which is quite normal for the kidneys they receive and process approximately 1.2 liters of blood per minute. This amount accounts for around 25% of all cardiac output, which shows the importance of the organ .

If waste products build up in our body, they become toxic, and so the kidneys play a crucial role in removing these products.

As a result, many people assume that higher protein intake leads to a higher kidney workload, and the extra demand causes kidney strain.

Also Check: Can You Lose Weight By Only Drinking Protein Shakes

How Does Protein Intake Affect Kidney Stone Formation

What we do know is that high protein diets increase the risk of kidney stones.

Research has shown that putting subjects on a low carbohydrate, high protein diet , increases the risk of kidney stones significantly 00039-2/abstract” rel=”nofollow”> 2).

Many similar studies have been done, that show similar results. Subjects typically increase their protein intake about 100% while reducing carbohydrate intake. It doesnt necessarily apply to athletes, but it is a concern.

The question is why does a high protein diet cause an increased risk of kidney stones?

The research points towards acid-base load .

In most cases, animal proteins are composed of amino acids that are later broken down into acids, while plant proteins are broken down into bases .

We know that uric acid kidney stones need a high uric acid concentration, along with acidic urine in order to form .

Not only are acidic conditions a common kidney stone formation requirement, but a high acid load is difficult for kidneys to handle, which could impede their functionality.

Protein intake can increase the risk of kidney stones, but only if fairly high. Its also typically only studied in untrained populations who are told not to be active during the study.

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